OIG released an audit that found waste and inefficiency in the Chicago Police Department’s (CPD) administration of its Tuition Reimbursement Program (TRP).
OIG sought to determine if CPD was effectively administering the $6.5 million program. Among its findings, OIG found $180,375 owed to the City by 15 employees who resigned City service prior to their fulfillment of a service commitment owed to CPD.
The TRP reimburses City employees for college tuition. Eligibility is not contingent on the courses having a relationship to official duties, but it is contingent upon grades and fulfillment of department service requirements. Employees who resign prior to completing their service requirement are required to repay the City.
The audit’s three significant findings were:
- CPD failed to identify 15 former employees who owed the City $180,375 because they voluntarily terminated employment before completing their required service. Eight of these had been missed by CPD during its review of terminations and seven had not been identified because CPD staff were 20 months behind in reviewing terminations
- CPD incorrectly accepted 6.2% of tuition reimbursement applications after the program deadline, and, equally concerning, an additional 49.2% of the audit sample could not be verified for timeliness because CPD administrators had not time-stamped the file documents
- CPD overpaid 3.1% of tuition reimbursements in the audit sample due to errors and lack of review
Although the audit did not look at terminations that occurred prior to January 2008, the OIG believes that is likely that other TRP participants who resigned prior to that were not identified by CPD.
“CPD has acknowledged they need to ensure the TRP rules are followed across the department,” said Inspector General Joe Ferguson. “When run properly, this is an attractive recruitment and retention program, and it needs to be administered in a fair, competent, and timely manner. CPD should be commended for their cooperation and assistance during this audit.”
This is the seventh audit report OIG has published in 2012 as it seeks to meet its statutory mission of promoting economy, efficiency, effectiveness and integrity in City programs.